That big blue heron sitting high in my backyard tree is the protagonist in today’s view on kindness. We live in his territory and for most of the year he uses the pond in the back pasture as home base. He has no fear of the horses and not much for the dogs, dawdling on the ground until the last possible minute of their wild chases before setting flight. I respect him in all his territorial glory. I admire the beauty of his great wingspan and his haughty walk. But then his eye starts to roam and things get difficult between us. It starts with stalking which is what he is doing right now from that backyard tree. He is scoping out the koi pond. More specifically, he is scoping out the koi IN the pond. The first year this happened, I was shocked. Shocked! He seems so contented with his choices in the pasture, never once showing an interest in my captive little beauties. I think it is a change of season thing; maybe some deep instinct in the fall to fatten up for the winter. The koi are not easy pickings for him because the pond is so small and there is not a perfect flight pattern. That doesn’t stop him from stalking though, right up to the pond’s edge or to the top of the waterfall.
In past years, I have resorted to scare tactics; letting the dogs out or banging on the garbage can which results in him reluctantly flapping off to a nearby tree or fence line where he will perch, mocking me. I am trying to find a different place in myself from which to see this annual dance. I think that my alarm is overstated. I think he is not willing to risk himself getting into that small pond. He is admiring my fish, maybe even coveting them. But he is a big guy who has been around the block enough to know what works for him. It hasn’t been my frantic scare tactics that have saved the fish; it has been his inherent heron common sense. Way to go, nature. Right again.